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Buck Point GC – A Dye Course on a “PB” Budget
First off let me say that Buck Point is an excellent golf course for the money. Greens fees on a Saturday morning in September were less than $40 for 18 holes with cart. We wanted to walk, at the same price, but they would not allow us to be in harmony with the course.
That said, lets get to the peanut butter. Buck Point Golf Club is a PB Dye owned and designed course near Brookville Lake in Southeastern Indiana. The Dye family are legends in Indiana, bar none. Buck Point is approximately 45-50 minutes West of Cincinnati and I finally made the short road trip to play there this past September with a fellow Golfwrx member. The cool thing about this course is that it was designed and constructed on a shoestring budget of $1.5 million peanuts. A mere pittance when it comes to golf course design and construction. It seems that PB got together with some old buddies and made this course happen.
When I see the initials "PB", two things immediately come to mind; 1. Hitting into that damn huge bunker on PB’s Moorland course in Myrtle Beach and 2. Peanut butter, which by the way my 9th grade history teacher, Mr. Gillespie, survived on while hiking through Europe one summer and showed us slides every Friday to prove it. PB took a peanut butter budget and serves up better than that as the finished product of Buck Point Golf Club. Many of the holes are serenely scenic and play right alongside Brookville Lake. Buck Point stretches out to 7100 plus yards from the tips, has many rolling hills and plays pretty much wide open on a majority of the holes.
The greens held everything hit into them and rolled extremely fast on a dew swept early September morning. The fairways were a little suspect, most likely due to the Midwestern drought and keeping them no so tight to limit the burned out areas that all courses around here have been suffering the past three years. According to PB Dye, "I built the best golf course on the piece of land that I could and just kept going," said Dye. "It is a very playable design. But there are a couple of par-3s out there that are tougher than yachts braid. Once this thing gets fully-grown in there will be no hay in play. I hate hay. We want to have people find the golf ball and play it. I tried to create as big a playing surface as I could. This is just a good old farm golf course."
Finding your ball was fairly easy and I agree, many of the par threes were tough as nails (especially #16), I was never a sailor, so I cannot say how tough a yacht’s braid is. Funny, I cannot ever remember a course being referred to as a "good old farm golf course" as Dye puts it. When you see the tee box yardage/hole layout markers, you’ll quickly get the idea. So how does an architect cut so many corners with costs? Well, they eat lots of peanut butter instead of organic, chef prepared, catered meals right? Not really. According to PB, "part of the secret of the low development costs were the scaled back construction methods used to build the course. The greens are all topsoil and less than 250,000 cubic yards of earth were moved to form the layout.
Dye also brought in his own shapers and equipment from other jobs to piece the construction of the course together." Additonally, they were able to save money by using Rain Bird irrigation heads that were bought for $5 a piece and buying mostly used equipment. It seems that it was PB’s mission to prove that quality golf can be built for less. In my estimation he truly succeeded here. This is as unpretentious as a golf experience can really be.
However, there are a few drawbacks at Buck Point. They desparately could use a quality, correctly sized clubhouse. A double wide trailer with a porch does nothing to attract golfers back a second time or to spend more money on refreshments. The power lines here are visually disturbing on many of the holes, especially on hole number two. Moving power lines is a tough chore, so we’ll let this one slide! Hole number 14 was really shoehorned in and offers no reward for a lot of risk for a very short par four that you can almost hit anything from 7 iron on up off of the tee. (see pic below) If you look very closely, you can see the stacked concrete on the right. The green is NOT driveable.
The second shot (that is of course if you are actually lucky enough to have one) into a green built upon huge, stacked highway concrete chunks really looks and plays strange. I am being picky though, if this course was closer to Cincinnati, I would surely spend my golf money here on a regular basis. In fact, they have a really cool, and huge, eagle flying around that literally buzzed us a few times on a green and a teebox. There is quite a bit of wildlife to be seen on and around this layout.
PB Dye? The PB could mean peanut butter. Overall PB, you did a damn fine job, especially with the ‘po folks looking hole markers. Pass the Skippy and lets play some farm golf! For more information, visit the Buck point website, www.buckpointgolfclub.com/.